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Judicial Watch: 2004 Bush Administration Briefing Presentation Details Specifically References Role of “Couriers” in bin Laden “Support Network”

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Washington, DC — May 4, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that documents recently obtained by JW from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) demonstrate the valuable information gained by so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” that ultimately led to the recent capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Judicial Watch obtained the documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
In March 2011, Judicial Watch released documents obtained from the Department of Defense (DOD) detailing the policies of the Bush administration related to the detention of “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the significant risks posed to the general population if the detainees were released. The documents include a February 4, 2004, draft presentation entitled “Guantanamo Detainees” previously marked “Not for Public Dissemination.” It specifically references the role of “couriers” in the bin Laden network, noting that enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay include “members of al Qaida’s international terrorism support network, including financiers, couriers, recruiters and operatives.”The DOD documents obtained by Judicial Watch further state that “Detainees have revealed al-Qaida leadership structures, operatives, funding mechanisms, communications methods, training and selection programs, travel patterns, support infrastructures, and plans for attacking the United States and other countries” and “information on UBL’s [Osama bin Laden] personal security procedures.”This is consistent with documents previously obtained in a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit that detail the overall effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against captured terrorists. According to a June 1, 2005, CIA report entitled, Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al-Qa’ida, “Detainee reporting accounts for more than half of all HUMINT reporting on al-Qa’ida since the program began…” Interestingly, this fact was omitted in later versions of the report obtained by Judicial Watch. All versions, however, conclude: “One of the gains to detaining the additional terrorists has been the thwarting of a number of al-Qa’ida operations in the United States and overseas.”Following the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, multiple news outlets stated intelligence from detainees identified the courier who ultimately led Navy Seals to the front door of the million-dollar compound that housed bin Laden. According to The Washington Times: “The debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush administration is being rekindled by the successful operation against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, which was based on information about the courier extracted from detained terror suspects.”Despite the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” the federal government suspended their use in 2005 by passing the Detainee Treatment Act. President Obama officially banned the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” during his first week in office in January 2009. Two months later, in March 2009, President Obama overruled objections from national security officials and released documents detailing the government’s enhanced interrogation program (the so-called “torture” memos). However, President Obama initially withheld information detailing the results of this program, including alleged terrorist plots that the program prevented. Now this same program is credited with the capture of the world’s most notorious terrorist. Meanwhile, Attorney Holder’s Justice Department continues its criminal investigation of the very same CIA employees who may have helped obtain information that President Obama used to kill bin Laden.“These documents show that without ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ Osama bin Laden might still be hiding in his compound plotting to kill more innocents. The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden will prompt President Obama to rethink his ideological and political positions on enhanced interrogation techniques. President Obama can no longer attack the very intelligence techniques that led to his brightest day thus far as president,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch is, of course, grateful to the intelligence community and U.S. military, specifically the nameless Navy Seals, who brought Osama bin Laden to justice.”

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs.”

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Washington, DC — April 4, 2011

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the Obama Justice Department’s stunning reversal that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried by a military commission and not by a civil court in New York City, as the Obama administration had originally planned.

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs. The mishandling of the KSM trial is another blow to Attorney General Eric Holder, who should have been replaced long ago. Mr. Holder has demonstrated that he is incapable of providing the leadership necessary for the fair and competent administration of justice at DOJ.“KSM long ago pled guilty to the charges initially brought against him in military commission proceedings. That he still walks the face of the Earth highlights the moral and strategic failure of the Obama administration’s approach to the terrorist detention issue. We hope this political decision will begin to undo the damage done to our nation’s security by the Obama administration’s ideological attack on Gitmo.”

Regarding the military tribunal system, Judicial Watch Litigation Director Paul Orfanedes visited Guantanamo Bay in 2008 by invitation to monitor military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top 9/11 conspirators. Judicial Watch’s presence provided some balance to the ACLU and other radical groups advocating for the terrorist detainees. Following his visit to Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Orfanedes said he witnessed a “deep commitment” to justice on the part of military lawyers.Judicial Watch has been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decision and the administration’s expressed intent to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch has also battled the Obama administration to obtain documents that would shed light on the threat of terrorism and the administration’s response.For example, Judicial Watch recently obtained documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) detailing the significant risks of releasing “enemy combatants” detained at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch also obtained documents from the Obama DOD detailing a deliberate campaign by al-Qaida and other extremist groups to recruit juveniles and launch terrorist attacks against children. The records consist of two Joint Task Force Intelligence Information Reports from debriefs of detainees at the U.S. terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.In 2009, Judicial Watch released a CIA report entitled, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al Qa’ida, which documented the information gained by interrogations of Mohammed: “KSM’s decade-long career as a terrorist, during which he met with a broad range of Islamic extremists from around the world, has made him a key source of information on numerous al-Qaida operatives and other mujahidin. He has provided intelligence that has led directly to the capture of operatives or fleshed out our understanding of the activities of important detainees, which in turn assisted in the debriefings of these individuals.” This document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“Approximately 40% of al-Qaida members in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq are composed of juveniles under the age of 18”; Islamic Extremist Groups “encourage their members to launch attacks on children”

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Washington, DC — March 17, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the Obama Department of Defense detailing a deliberate campaign by al-Qaida and other extremist groups to recruit juveniles and launch terrorist attacks against children. The records consist of two Joint Task Force Intelligence Information Reports from debriefs of detainees at the U.S. terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Among the highlights of the records obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request originally filed by Judicial Watch on August 26, 2005, with the Defense Intelligence Agency:

  • Extremist groups in Saudi Arabia and Yemen used religion as the main mechanism for recruiting juveniles. Extremist groups preferred juveniles who were poor or involved in illegal activities since they made easy targets for recruitment.
  • Extremist groups are not looking for a particular characteristic in a recruit, but prefer juveniles who are poor or are involved in drinking and drugs. The juveniles are looking for happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and they have not found it. For these reasons they are susceptible to being brainwashed by extremist groups.
  • No juvenile has resisted taking part in an operation. Most juveniles are eager to participate after hearing a religious speech given by one of the trainers at the camp.
  • The Terrorist and Extremist Groups (TEGS) justify their attacks on young children (ages 5 through 17) by claiming that the children are either non-believers or children of non-believers. The attacks on children are deliberate actions.
  • The attacks on children are psychological operations against non-believers to prevent them from organizing against the TEGS. The TEGS attack schools and buses to maximize psychological effect. Attacks against children in schools and buses are used because they are easy targets. The attacks are conducted to show non-believers how little the TEGS think of non-believers’ lives who are against Islam.
  • The TEGS consider attacks on children legitimate. The TEGS believe the attacks on children are a religious good deed and attackers will go to heaven. The TEGS encourage their members to launch attacks on children.
  • Juvenile females are recruited into the extremist groups, but not for operational purposes. The juvenile females become brides for extremist members.

The records note that “approximately 40% of al-Qaida members in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq are composed of juveniles under the age of 18.” Terrorists recruit juveniles at Koran study groups, soccer games, summer camps, trips to other cities and swimming pools. Some extremists with connections to law enforcement purposely target potential juvenile recruits for arrest and coercion while detained in jail.“These documents describe al-Qaida’s evil strategy: Target and recruit impressionable juveniles to carry out terrorist acts while purposely inflicting violence on children to strike fear in those who oppose them,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We should be concerned that radical Islamists are using their religion to brainwash young people to commit terrorist acts and to justify the murder of innocent children. It should not have taken more than five years and two presidential administrations to force the release these documents. It is essential to telling the American people the truth about the strategies and tactics of Islamic extremists.”(In November, 2001, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Senior Advisor to bin Laden and al-Qaida spokesman, said, “We have not reached parity with [America]. We have the right to kill four million Americans, two million of them children and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.” [Emphasis added])The issue of Islamic terrorists attacking children made headlines on March 11 when a suspected Palestinian terrorist murdered five members of an Israeli family, including a three-month old infant, while they slept. According to The Boston Globe, “The Al-Qassam Brigades, a branch of Hamas, argued that the murder of Israeli settlers was permitted by international law. 4 A day later it changed its tune, insisted that ‘harming children is not part of Hamas’s policy,’ and suggested instead that the massacre might have been committed by Jews.”

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